Canadian gold junior Lumina Gold (TSX-V:LUM) has inked a formal five-year earn-in deal with First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM), which will see the copper miner contributing $1.5 million for moving forward with exploration at Orquideas and Cascas gold/copper concessions in Ecuador.
The agreement gives First Quantum the option of investing an additional $37 million over the course of the last four years.
The Vancouver-based gold minor, which is also advancing its Cangrejos and Condor gold-copper project in southern Ecuador, will receive $100,000 due upon signing, and will be reimbursed about $840,000 for expenditures made on the properties from September 2017 to mid-May 2018.
Ecuador has gained ground as a mining investment destination in the past two years thanks to a revised regulatory framework and a major investor engagement campaign that has already attracted around 420 applications for concessions in less than a year.
In March, Anglo American (LON:AAL) became the latest big miner to land in the South American country. Through a deal with Lumina Gold itself, the company plans to develop two copper and gold concessions there.
Currently, the nation’s emerging mining sector employs 3,700 people, but the government estimates the figure will rise to about 16,000 in the 2017-2020 period.
Work at Orquideas and Cascas is ongoing under the supervision of FQM, with Lumina acting as operator.